Pinning for the Patrons

30/07/2012 § 5 Comments

Photo by Jude Doyland

A few months ago a co-worker introduced me to Pinterest with the disclaimer that I would waste massive amounts of time on the platform once engaged. And they were right. I’ve spent a great deal of time collecting recipes I’ll never cook, outfits I’ll never buy and ideas to repurpose an old door that I don’t have. While some may see it as a waste of time, I enjoy the time I spend on Pinterest and it has prepared me for one of my new library job tasks: managing my library’s presence on the site. Admittedly, I’m still perfecting our approach, but I do have some tips that I’d like to share. (Check out this Pinterest 101 if you need help with some of the jargon below). « Read the rest of this entry »

Preparing for the End (Of Library School)

23/05/2012 § 6 Comments

Photo by Sarah Starkweather

Since the end of spring semester, Hack Library School bloggers have been posting great content to keep you going this summer.  For me, summer will not be a break. I’ll be finishing my last semester of school. If you’re like me, library school has been a marathon. Perhaps you’ve just finished your first mile, maybe you’re half way through–or maybe you can see the finish line. Smart marathon runners have a post-race recovery plan that starts the second after they cross the finish line. I’m starting to think like a runner to prepare myself for life after library school. Here are a few ideas I’m moiling over to prepare for the end.
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Lessons in Ethnography

18/04/2012 § 14 Comments

Pete Steele and family, Hamilton, Ohio. From the LOC Lomax Collection

This semester at the University of North Texas I am taking SLIS 5445, History and Culture of Youth Services. A good portion of the class has focused on ethnography and its application in youth services. I won’t pretend to be an expert on this type of study and fieldwork. However, I want to share some things I’ve learned about ethnography, how I find it to be a helpful framework for needs assessment and how it’s helped me further define my personal approach to library service.
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Advice From A Hiring Manager

14/03/2012 § 8 Comments

Photo by Matt Wetzler

Last semester I took an Academic Libraries class that required me to interview an academic librarian. I reached out to Courtney Young to help me complete this assignment. Ms. Young is Head Librarian & Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at Penn State Greater Allegheny and serves on the ALA Executive Board.

The goal of the project was to get a real world perspective on some of the special academic library issues we had discussed throughout the semester. While I drafted interview questions to address this objective–I couldn’t help but see the interview as an opportunity. I was pretty confident that my interviewee had a hand in hiring at her library. Getting an interview can be tough, getting feedback from a hiring manager can be even more difficult. Knowing the struggle that many of my peers are facing in the job market, I thought it would be a good idea to ask her what she looks for in a job candidate. Courtney Young had some brilliant and unexpected advice that I hope you can put to use as you look towards the future and begin your job search. « Read the rest of this entry »

Should Online Coursework Be a Library School Requirement?

01/02/2012 § 31 Comments

Photo by Wouter Verhelst

This semester I’m taking ‘Distributed Learning Librarianship’ online at the University of North Texas.  Needless to say online learning is on my mind.  In August of last year Rose L. Chou contributed a great HLS post In Defense of Online LIS Education,  and Laura Sanders’ recent post on Teaching Methods Used in Library School generated some good discussion that included comments about online coursework. I’d like to build on some of the ideas presented in these post and in my class.  I feel like every other day I have a conversation with someone about online courses that includes a statement like, “How does that even work?” or “I can’t imagine what a class would be like online.” This weekend it dawned on me–maybe you can’t imagine what an online class is like until you take one. Sometimes I feel like I’m describing driving to someone who hasn’t ridden in a car.

There is a growing population of online students in the United States. According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning  online enrollment experienced an average annual growth rate of 20% from 2002 to 2009. From fall 2008 to fall 2009 there was an online enrollment increase of nearly one million students for a total of 5.6 million students. Many areas of librarianship are affected by these online learners. As one would expect, online students turn to their University libraries for support–but they also use their local public libraries for school-related needs. Additionally, school librarians may be called on by K-12 students taking online classes. As more people choose to learn online, do we need more librarians who know how to serve them? There are many different ways to approach needs assessment—in the case of online learners I’m beginning to think needs assessment should come, in part, from firsthand experience.

I understand that online learning isn’t a great fit for every library school student and many people still resist the idea of online courses and degrees. 5.6 million online learners are proceeding anyway. How are we going to educate ourselves to meet their information needs?

I want to know what you think. Do we need to do more to anticipate the needs of online learners in our coursework? How does your school’s curriculum address online learning? Should library school students be taking more online courses? Let’s discuss.

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